Conflict of interest statement: Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke: Recent speaker board: Shire, UCB Pharma; Current and recent consultancy: UCB Pharma, Shire; Current and recent research support: Janssen Cilag, Shire, Qbtech, Flynn Pharma; Advisory Board: Shire, Flynn Pharma, UCB Pharma, Astra Zeneca; Conference support: Shire. All other authors report no conflicts of interest.
5HTT genotype moderates the influence of early institutional deprivation on emotional problems in adolescence: evidence from the English and Romanian Adoptee (ERA) study
Article first published online: 25 MAR 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 51, Issue 7, pages 755–762, July 2010
How to Cite
Kumsta, R., Stevens, S., Brookes, K., Schlotz, W., Castle, J., Beckett, C., Kreppner, J., Rutter, M. and Sonuga-Barke, E. (2010), 5HTT genotype moderates the influence of early institutional deprivation on emotional problems in adolescence: evidence from the English and Romanian Adoptee (ERA) study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51: 755–762. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02249.x
‘different form of a gene’
- Issue published online: 7 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 25 MAR 2010
- Manuscript accepted 24 February 2010
- Early institutional deprivation;
- prospective-longitudinal study;
- gene–environment interactions;
Background: A common polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4, 5HTT) has been repeatedly shown to moderate the influence of childhood adversity and stressful life events on the development of psychopathology. Using data from the English and Romanian Adoptee Study, a prospective-longitudinal study of individuals (n = 125) exposed to severe early institutional deprivation (ID), we tested whether the effect of ID on adolescent emotional problems is moderated by 5HTT genotype and stressful life events in adolescence.
Methods: Emotional problems were assessed using questionnaire data (age 11), and on the basis of the CAPA diagnostic interview (age 15). Additionally, the number of stressful life events was measured.
Results: There was a significant effect for genotype (p = .003) and a gene × environment interaction (p = .008) that was independent of age at testing. Carriers of the s/l and s/s genotype who experienced severe ID showed the highest emotional problem scores, while l/l homozygotes in the severe ID group showed the lowest overall levels. Furthermore, s/s carriers in the severe ID group who experienced a high number of stressful life events between 11 and 15 years had the largest increases in emotional problem scores, while a low number of stressful life events was associated with the largest decrease (4-way interaction: p = .05).
Conclusions: The effects of severe early ID on emotional problems in adolescence are moderated by 5HTT genotype, and influenced by stressful life events in adolescence.